Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Very often, pain and other discomforts of the body can be reduced greatly by making simple dietary changes. Modern research has established a link between inflammation and a host of chronic disease and pain syndromes.  Reducing inflammation throughout the body starts with eating more consciously and moving away from the basic American processed and carbohydrate-heavy diet.

Basic Points:
  • Cooked vegetables are the "main course" of a balance meal. Choose whatever vegetables you enjoy, but try to limit ones in the "nightshade family": eggplant, tomato, bell pepper and white potato.  Nightshade vegetables contain some toxins that may be pro-inflammatory in many people.
  • Reduce or eliminate refined grains like white flour, white potato and white rice.
  • Reduce or eliminate refined sugars and corn syrups.
  • Consider cutting out wheat flour all-together.  When wheat flour is eliminated you will be forced to eat more consciously.  Better dietary choices will naturally result.
  • Eat small servings of nutrient-dense carbs like quinoa and oats.
  • Each meal should have balanced amounts of fat, protein & fiber.  By balancing a meal this way you will not ride the "sugar spike roller-coaster" in the hours after the meal.
  • Anti-inflammatory "superfoods" should be part of your daily diet: ginger, turmeric, flax seeds, fish, berries, beans, seeds, etc.
  • Fruits are best eaten alone.  They do not need to stay in the stomach for very long, so eating them after a meal will impair digestive function.
  • Eat limited amounts of dairy products, especially those high in saturated fat.
  • Eat the "good fats" - "good fats" will actually make you lose weight!  These include: olive oil, avocados, flax, fish and fish oils, almonds, sesame and more...  Good fats should be cooked very lightly or not at all.  In general, the more fats are cooked, the less health benefits they have.
  • Avoid "bad fats".  These fats are over-cooked, hydrogenated and saturated fats.  Hydrogenated fats and fried oils are the worst possible fats and have been linked to various disease processes.

With all that being said, the most important thing is to enjoy eating new foods and preparing them in new ways.  Explore the abundance of food available for you to enjoy on this planet.  There is more to life than eating burgers and fries!
More information is available here.

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